The following is an op-ed column from State Rep. Paul Brodeur:
With the holiday shopping season in full swing, we have already experienced the initial frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These marketing programs encourage consumers to rush to the mall or big box store, or to shop with their computers. There is, however, a better way to do your holiday shopping – head right downtown and patronize the local businesses of Melrose and Wakefield.
Shopping in your community offers the best of both worlds – the convenience of a great location and the unparalleled customer service you can only get from a local merchant. Melrose and Wakefield have exciting programs again this year to show you the abundance of unique products and services available right in your own backyard. You can shop at your leisure, stop in for a drink or dinner at a fine restaurant, meet friends old and new, and not have to fight the holiday traffic.
Consider all our communities have to offer in terms of goods and services. You can pamper yourself, a loved one, or your pet with a manicure, pedicure, or spa visit. You can book a winter getaway or frame photographs from a past trip or holiday. Pieces by local jewelers, artisans, and artists can be found in many local shops. If there is handy person on your gift list, our local hardware stores can help you pick out something that will make their day. (For the mot-so-handy, perhaps a local contractor is a better answer.) If you are not looking for something new, stop in at one of our fine antique shops and look around. If you are considering a culinary gift, Melrose and Wakefield offer gourmet foods, confections, beverages, and restaurants that rival those in Boston for quality (but not cost). You do not need to leave town in order to find the perfect special gift.
On November 30 and December 1, the Melrose Chamber of Commerce is again presenting Home for the Holidays, a showcase of Melrose merchants throughout the city. The weekend features trolley rides, caroling, crafts, lots of activities for kids, PTO events and great deals on gifts. The weekend kicks off this Friday with the holiday tree lighting and an early visit from Santa.
The Wakefield Event Planning Committee is holding its annual ‘Tis the Season Holiday Stroll in downtown Wakefield on December 1. The event kicks off at 3:00 with the Holiday Hat Parade down Main Street featuring your craziest holiday hats, the Wakefield High School Marching Band, and a certain couple that spends most of their year at the North Pole. All are welcome to join the parade. After the parade, Main Street and Albion Street will feature holiday entertainment, food, ice sculpture, and holiday shopping discounts.
The Small Business Administration defines a small business as one with fewer than 500 employees. A small business in Melrose or Wakefield is much different. It typically has ten or fewer employees. The owners are there almost all the time and live in or near the community. They know their customers better than anyone. They are vested in the continuing success and vibrancy of the schools, government, cultural institutions, and most importantly, the residents they serve.
Local businesses are the backbone of Melrose and Wakefield. When you attend the Melrose Symphony or a performance at the Wakefield Center for the Performing Arts, it is made possible through the generous support of local businesses. When you child receives a scholarship from the Wakefield Citizens Scholarship Fund or the Melrose High School Permanent Scholarship Fund, it is due to the financial contributions and other donations from the individuals and businesses in our own communities. If your child plays a sport, it is likely that her team or league is sponsored by a local business. How can we have the Victorian Fair, Festival Italia, or similar events that create a unique atmosphere in Melrose and Wakefield? Because our local businesses take a leadership role in our communities.
Please support the local businesses that support our communities this holiday season and throughout the year.